Spider Jerusalem is not the kind of guy you take home to meet your parents. He’s crude, offensive, and his favorite state of dress is naked. He’s also very pissed off. He’s just been forced to return to the city after several blissful years of almost total solitude on the side of a mountain. Unfortunately, he’s spent his book advance and his publisher is making him come back and write for the City’s biggest newspaper ‘The Word’, he’s even willing to throw in an assistant/photographer if it’ll make Spider happy. It doesn’t. Not much that’s actually socially acceptable makes Spider happy. But that’s okay because Spider’s weekly column “I Hate It Here” is wildly popular no matter how offensive he is to everything and everyone. A fact which only disgusts him more. Warren Ellis has created a compelling and all too possible future in which all the excesses of today’s world have been multiplied and carried to their logical extremes. Information and advertisements bombard you 24 hours a day, catering to every imaginable (and unimaginable) desire for pleasure. Spider is not a moralist, he fully partakes of the pleasures of the City while maintaining a cynical outlook on all of it. He can accept the excess but he can’t stand hypocrisy. His goal is to make others aware of the essential vacuity and falseness of the world they live in. The art work in the comic works with the tone of the text – bright brash colors, graphic images. It’s an unflinching vision of Spider’s world that sees through the glamour to the dirt underneath. Through Spider Jerusalem Warren Ellis offers biting social commentary on the state of our world. Spider isn’t cuddly, and he isn’t polite, but he is often right and after a while, he’s oddly endearing. This is not a comic for the faint of heart. Be warned this does contain very graphic language and violence, as well as frequent nudity, it is not meant for children. But the language and violence are not gratuitous; Warren Ellis uses them as an integral part of the commentary he is making.
Transmetropolitan, vol. 1: Back on the Street
by Warren Ellis
Art by Darick Robertson
Vertigo/DC Comics 2001